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Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton to Celebrate Annual Dinner

As the music instructor at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, Adina Mermelstein corals a chorus of youthful voices into a pitch-perfect harmony.

The smiles are infectious, the tempo upbeat—a metaphor for Mermelstein, who is celebrating her 10th year at the yeshiva. She is best known as Morah Adina.

A lifelong resident of Passaic, New Jersey, Adina and her husband, Shlomie, will be honored at the Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton (YIPC), the shul her father guided as rabbi for more than 35 years.

Along with the Mermelsteins, other shul pillars, Elliot and Nechama Rosner, will be honored on June 17 at the YIPC at 200 Brook Avenue, in Passaic.

The dinner comes just two and a half years after Young Israel completed construction of the new and larger building that comfortably houses a growing Modern and Centrist Orthodox community in Passaic-Clifton.

“In our shul’s more than 50-year history we have been blessed with countless multi-generational families who helped build this shul and continue its incredible growth,” said YIPC rabbi, Yaakov Glasser, who succeeded Adina Mermelstein’s father, Rabbi Chaim Wasserman, 13 years ago. “The Mermelsteins and Rosners are not only pillars based on their years at Young Israel, they are also among our most active members on a day-to-day basis.”

The Mermelsteins are famous for making their home an extension of the shul. For years, Adina and Shlomie transformed their home and backyard into a gathering place for the YIPC Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration. And the family continues to host a wildly entertaining pre-Purim oneg Shabbat every year.

But it’s at the shul where they find their deepest connections.

“I stand in shul during davening and marvel at the beautiful ‘bayit’ that we now come together in and the special friends who have become our extended family,” says Adina.

“We are so makir tov (appreciative) to the special people who made this new building a reality,” she adds. “I could never have imagined that such a beautiful shul could possibly stand in the same spot that I came to daven my entire life. This new bayit has brought so much happiness to our lives.”

Shlomie, a Brooklyn native who has worked as CFO and controller at Mico Cooling Corp. for 26 years, moved to Passaic in 1982 with his parents. He graduated high school at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in New Haven and then learned at Yeshivat Neveh Tzion for two years. Upon his return, Shlomie became friends with Adina’s brother, Hillel, with the two opening a catering business. It was through that friendship that Shlomie met Adina and, as he says, “The rest is history.”

And that history includes three beautiful children, Nomi, Shoshana and Moshe.

The Rosners

The parents of four children and seven grandchildren, Elliot and Nechama Rosner have a proud history with the Young Israel movement.

Elliot’s parents, a”h, met at an event at the Young Israel of Boro Park and his father worked both there and at the National Council of Young Israel. So it is no surprise that Elliot has served for years as gabbai of the shul’s daily minyan.

“I grew up with shul being the most important part of my life, as my father worked as the director of the Prospect Park Jewish Center,” says Elliot, an accountant for the federal government. “Prayer was the center of my life. As the neighborhood changed and became unsafe we moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where my father became shamash at the Bialystoker Synagogue where I lived until 1984 when Nechama and I got married.”

Born in the Bronx and raised in Kew Gardens Hills, Nechama davened at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills where her parents were active and her father gave bar mitzvah lessons, often without charge.

Nechama graduated Yeshiva of Central Queens, Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Queens College. She has devoted her life to Jewish education, having taught at various synagogues and yeshivot for many years, including YBH Hillel for approximately 20 years.

The upcoming shul tribute continues the Rosner family’s tradition with the Young Israel movement. “Young Israel is an organization that allows our youth to mature religiously and socially in a Torah environment,” says Elliot. “The Young Israel has been a most important part of our lives and we hope and pray that it will continue to provide a place where our youth will be comfortable and where young and old will help Young Israel reach greater heights.”

The Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton is also where the Rosners raised their four children—Esther, Shmuel, Chana Sara and Atara—all of whom are now grown and married.

“Our shul has also been blessed to have two rabbis in its recent history—Rabbi Wasserman and Rabbi Glasser—who are both committed to welcoming children into our shul and making the Young Israel a home for people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Nechama. “Our children and our seven grandchildren love coming to the shul. It’s a second home for them.”

The entire Young Israel community wishes the Rosner family hatzlacha rabba as they finalize their plans to make aliyah.

All are welcome to join the YIPC on June 17 to pay tribute to these two very worthy couples, and to show hakarat hatov for the superb rabbinic leadership provided by Rabbi Yaakov Glasser. Dinner reservations and ad journal contributions can be made at www.yipc.org/dinner.

By Mitch Morrison

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